Episode #23: Dismantling the Autocratic Dysfunction

Being bossy comes naturally to many people. Consequently, these people are promoted to senior leadership roles because they make things happen using the strength of their personalities. These “bossy” bosses can be very effective at using force and directive language to get things done. They climb the organizational ladder because they excel at delivering results despite their undeveloped people leadership skills. Because they achieve results, their behavior is rationalized or overlooked by other leaders and employees alike.

The relentless drive and autocratic tendencies responsible for these leaders’ success leave them with some pretty significant gaps in people leadership. Driven to succeed, they have little awareness of their own needs and emotions, so they equally neglect their employees as they do themselves. And at its worst, this disconnect can cause those around the autocratic leader to feel bullied, intimidated, or threatened. As a result, the organizational dysfunctions that these leaders create are significant, abundant, and highly destructive. Not knowing how to protect yourself from Autocratic Leaders can lead to complications that are damaging for not only individuals and teams but for organizations overall.

In today’s episode, we discuss the Autocratic Leadership Dysfunction and share some practical tips to help you dismantle this behavior in your behavior or that of leaders in your organization.  We’ll also share real client stories that illustrate just how common it is to find this type of leadership behavior in organizations today. Tune in to learn more about the Autocratic Leadership Dysfunction and discover what you can do to not revert to your own defensive, self-protective behavior, making issues worse.

If you want to know more about Anne & Heather’s work with dismantling dysfunctions in organizations and leadership behavior at Caliber Leadership Systems, check out:




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Are you dealing with an organizational dysfunction you need help with? Or do you have a story you would like to share on our show? Contact us at [email protected].



  • [02:06] Episode introduction and overview
  • [03:03] What is the Autocratic Dysfunction?
  • [14:07] Know yourself and your Self-protective Persona
  • [19:26] Don’t take their behavior personally
  • [24:22] Influence, don’t oppose
  • [29:32] Develop self-limiting behavior
  • [33:30] Episode gem & practical takeaway
  • [37:59] Episode wrap up



  • Autocratic Leadership can be beneficial when decisions need to be made quickly without consulting with a large group of people. Some projects require strong leadership to get things accomplished quickly and efficiently.
  • The Autocratic Leadership Persona will negate the value of collaboration, cooperation, emotional expressiveness, empathy, caring and concern for the experience of employees because they are mostly concerned with the bottom line.
  • Dealing with an autocratic boss, peer or employee means that you have to know yourself and your own Self-protective Persona so that you don’t react to their behavior.
  • Are you ready to start responding effectively to autocratic behavior in others by learning how to not take it personally and stay focused on the issues? Check out the full episode and learn how by developing skills you can increase your ability to influence and shift from self-limiting behavior today!


"Deciding to compensate for poor performance instead of managing it is an act of self- disempowerment."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 3 - "Self-disempowerment starts from within. Leaders need to recognize when they are keeping their self-esteem low."
episode 18 - quote tile 4 - "Leaders need to watch that they aren't being pulled into the position  of rescuer when interacting with employees."

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